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Michigan fends off Penn State’s comeback attempt

Jan 4, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Penn State's Jalen Pickett (22) drive past Michigan's Jett Howard (13) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Dickinson scored 17 points to guide Michigan past Penn State 79-69 on Wednesday in Big Ten action from Ann Arbor, Mich.

Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard chipped in 14 points apiece for the Wolverines (9-5, 3-0 Big Ten), who led for more than 37 minutes but had to hold off the Nittany Lions (11-4, 2-2) down the stretch.

Penn State was led by Jalen Pickett’s 26 points and nine rebounds. Seth Lundy contributed 16 points for the Nittany Lions, who did not score in the final two minutes as their five-game winning streak came to an end.

The early portion of the second half featured runs by both teams.

Penn State scored 11 straight points to forge a 47-47 tie, but Michigan responded with 14 points in a row to open a 61-47 advantage with 11:20 remaining.

The Nittany Lions answered with an 18-7 push, capped by Andrew Funk’s 3-pointer with 4:28 left, to get within 68-65. Michigan then made two free throws to go up by five.

Penn State got within three points twice more down the stretch, but Bufkin answered with a jumper the first time and Dug McDaniel knocked down a jumper the second time, allowing the Wolverines to keep the Nittany Lions at arms’ length.

The hosts knocked down 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Michigan led 42-34 at halftime after leading by as many as 11 points late in the half.

The Wolverines originally opened a 20-10 lead following a 13-2 run that began with Howard’s three-point play and ended with his two free throws.

The Nittany Lions got within 31-27 on Lundy’s 3-pointer, but Dickinson scored six points to help Michigan expand the lead to 40-29. The Wolverines still led by 11 in the waning seconds of the half before Evan Mahaffey’s 3-pointer made it an eight-point game at the break.

–Field Level Media